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Victor Segalen and the Aesthetics of
                        DiversityJourneys between Cultures$
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Charles Forsdick

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198160144

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198160144.001.0001

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Towards a New Practice of Exoticism

Towards a New Practice of Exoticism

(p.182) 5 Towards a New Practice of Exoticism
Victor Segalen and the Aesthetics of Diversity

Charles Forsdick

Oxford University Press

Equipée is central to Victor Segalen's consideration of exoticism, not only because it adopts and engages with the unified form that exoticist discourse customarily took (that is, the travel narrative), but also because it investigates the two elements whose interplay is at the heart of all his works: the ‘réel’ and the ‘imaginaire’. Equipée is, however, a paradoxical text, marking a break with geographical exoticism yet simultaneously signalling a cyclical return to such exoticism. This is a movement that is not simply a recantation, but seems instead to institute travel as a wider metaphor exemplifying contact with otherness. It serves as a key work for a summative understanding of central strands in the evolution of Segalen's thought: entropy and the supposed decline of the exotic; tourism as cultural contact and illustration of the limits of travel writing; cartography, cultural appropriation, and the disruptive potentials of the imaginary; autoscopy and the exoticization of self.

Keywords:   Victor Segalen, exoticism, travel writing, Equipée, tourism, travel, entropy, cartography, autoscopy, otherness

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